In my home county, one of the most rural in Maryland and roughly an hour’s drive outside of Washington, DC, I organized a small meeting of a few people who consider themselves preppers and/or survivalists. The county might be described as 70% conservative and primarily Republican, and 30% liberal and primarily Democrat. Calvert County is a peninsula, 30 miles long and 9 miles wide, no point further than 5 miles from a navigable body of water (the Chesapeake Bay to the east and Patuxent River to the west). It’s mostly farms, parks and deer-filled woodland interspersed with a number of town centers and housing developments.
So, here's your homework: make a list of all the major threats discussed in this guide, alongside with any other contingencies you worry about. For each and every one of them, draft a detailed, step-by-step preparedness and response plan that sounds right to you, and that you can see yourself actually putting into action. Don't obsess over getting all the details right; we'll try to refine your choices in section 4, and even then, it may take several iterations to settle on an approach you are really happy with. For now, simply list all the noteworthy dangers, jot down some initial answers to the following questions, and see where that takes you.

They are part of a burgeoning "prepper" movement that believes preparing for the end of civilization is more rational than ridiculing those who do. Once viewed largely as a practice by survivalists on the fringe, prepping has achieved cohesion and community in the Internet age through best-selling writers, bloggers, risk assessors, conspiracy theorists and companies that cater to preppers' needs.


I spent most of the $500 on these food storage items:  brown rice, white rice, pasta noodles, pinto beans, black beans, potato flakes, popcorn, buckwheat hot cereal, oats, cornmeal, flour, salt, and sugar.  The rest of the money I used on freeze-dried meat & veggies.  I also used some of the money to buy 5-gallon buckets to store the food in and 5-gallon water containers.

Blame modern diets, blame our longevity, or blame the mistakes of mother nature - but the bottom line is that for most humans, dental problems are a question of "when", not "if". And when excruciating pain strikes at an inopportune time, it's really no laughing matter: in absence of adequate medical care, tooth problems have been known to push some people to the verge of suicide.


Stocking a survival kit is a very personal procedure. Your life may depend on your choices at some point, so you’ll want to ponder the potential disasters you may face and do your best to assemble the items that will help you survive. But, if you start with the items listed above, add in those which will address your personal needs and carry them in a sensible container, you’ll likely keep yourself alive and return home with a great story.
A large pen drive. Computer hardware failures are far more common than space zombies or mutant superbugs. Because of this, one of your best investments can be a decent 128 GB pen drive ($30) with a copy of all your important files; in case of bank mix-ups, throw in copies of recent account statements, too. And hey, if want to feel like a cyber-ninja - you can always grab a copy of Wikipedia. It will undoubtedly come handy for rebuilding the civilization, and it's just 12 GB.
Handheld FRS/GMRS radios. Many preppers obsess about long-distance communications, but in a typical emergency, chatting with people 100 miles away is not a priority. In contrast, a hand-held two-way radio can be very useful for keeping in touch with your friends and family during any prolonged outage. Again, pick a device that accepts the kind of batteries you can stockpile cheaply. Expect a range of 2-3 miles in rural regions, and less than a mile in highly urbanized areas - no matter what the manufacturer claims. With all that in mind, Olympia R500 ($55) is a good choice.

As we mentioned, first and foremost to being a Prepper is a mental attitude.  That of “I am responsible for me”.  If you are relying on the government or others to take care of you then you are a dependent of them, not an independent citizen capable of supporting themselves.  And that is exactly what a Prepper is or strives to be – an Independent Citizen capable of supporting themselves.  Through out the attitudes and beliefs that if something happens you’ll let others take care of you.  In fact, through out the notion that nothing bad will ever happen to you – chances are extremely high that it will!  Whether it’s a personal, family, neighborhood, city, state, national or world event – bad things happen every single day – dodging them all is pretty near impossible.
In most jurisdictions, to draft a will, you don't need a lawyer; the only skill that comes handy is the ability to express yourself clearly and unambiguously. There are countless state- and country-specific templates available online; in many cases, to carry legal weight, the will just needs to be co-signed by disinterested parties acting as witnesses - or cheaply notarized.
Heat: Emergency blankets made out of a metallic Mylar material are small and handy, and can double as ground cover or tarps for shelter. We like this pack of six Mylatech XL blankets. For a great bonus option, we love this indoor heater that uses the same small propane tanks as the camping stoves. Avoid cheaper ones that aren’t safe for indoor use — two weeks after first publishing this guide, a neighboring tent in our campground caught on fire because of a cheap propane heater that tipped over while a family slept inside.
Starting any new project, large or small, can be daunting.  Unlike other projects, however, family preparedness and prepping can literally save your life if not your sanity. I have created a beginners roadmap for going forward as I develop each topic in detail in the Twelve Months of Prepping Series, complete with actionable steps that you can take to become a prepper of the highest order while doing so with grace, optimism, and hope.
I personally like 5 gallon buckets with the gamma lids, so that I can access and rotate my food. I built shelves for food storage but I do have some of big Home Depot style orange shelves and they would work well. I also have some mix of number 10 cans but i like them less because they seem so bulky. For things that i rotate through slower input a Mylar bag in the bucket to keep thing fresh. I live in Utah and we have an industrial container store that sells buckets and lids for a great price, a lot less than the e-prep stores.
Pets can also be part of your security. Our mutt protects our hens. She has killed two possums who got into the chicken run and a fox that was attempting to dig it’s way in. She is also an excellent alarm system. Our hens aren’t pets so eventually they will be food after they egg laying days are over with. Our cat is an excellent mouser and seems a little perverted since she seems to enjoy it to the point of ignoring all else when she senses one in the house. The only pet we have that I consider useless is the Quaker parrot. The rest of them we plan to store feed for.
Mountain House, Wise Food, My Patriot Supply, and Ready Store need to get better in this regard. In some cases, we had to call a company and dig deeper than reasonable in order to find out calorie content — or we had to look at individual nutritional labels to reverse engineer the math. In other cases they called something a “1-month bucket” but that was based on silly calorie numbers.
Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers will allow you to preserve many staple grains — rice, beans, and flour — for 30-plus years. Titan Survivorcord is a paracord that includes fishing line, snare wire, and a strand of jute twine infused with wax, for fire-starting. The Inergy Kodiak power generator is one of the most advanced lithium power generators on the market.
No matter where you live, it's also nice to have some materials at hand to patch up broken windows on a stormy night. Window security film can be used to keep broken glass in place, while a roll of thick plastic sheeting or tarp from a hardware store can come handy for temporary repairs; space permitting, you may also want to keep several wooden planks. For suburban and rural homes in regions prone to extreme weather, pressboard and sandbags may be worthwhile, too. Traditional sandbags tend to be extremely labor-intensive to fill, so plan accordingly; water-filled barriers are much easier to deploy, but cost more. Absorbent sock-style barriers can be used to deal with minor flooding, but only up to an inch of water or so; they may be less useful for inclement weather, but may prove indispensable for dealing with backed-up sewage or similar ills.
Barbara – I know what you mean. It is easy to become both overwhelmed and disorganized at the same time. The nice thing about the list of 20 items is that you can purchase them all at once or one item a week. Then you can set them aside and at least for the short term, consider your food shopping done and move on to the gear or the next major task on your preparedness to-do list.
Are you keen to learn how to use a bow, it’s an art form in itself and actually more complicated than many people believe. It’s not just a case of pulling the bowstring back and shooting. You have to think about how you are standing, where you pull the bowstring back to (known as anchor points), how you release the arrow. And finally what your arms do after the arrow has left the bow.
Still, there's a grassroots aspect to it. Big corporations like Walmart and Costco may sell products like the Chef's Banquet Food Readiness Kit, which contains 390 servings of dehydrated meals, but there are scores of online retailers aimed specifically at the prepper demographic: Doomsday Prep, Practical Preppers, Wise Company, and The Ready Store, to name only a few. Notably, the majority of online stores like these either sell their own branded guides or offer them for free.
There are many schools of thought on what should be stock piled in the event of a disaster or prolonged period of social disruption or societal collapse. It is hard to say with complete authority what “The best” foods are. This will depend on a number of factors, such as storage space, number of people to be fed, availability of water for preparation, availability of a means to cook foods or heat water, and the list goes on. There are however some standards that can guide pretty much anyone in the right direction. Just be certain that whatever you store, it provides enough calories, a dietary proper balance, vitamins, minerals, and fats. Remember, a crisis has a way of creating situations that will increase your caloric requirements, and that will tax your immune system and electrolyte balance.

Forums and Facebook groups are littered with the same fundamental questions asked over and over again, but they often give incomplete, conflicting, or even dangerous answers. Then we’d read a blog where the author did some quick googling and cranked out a post just to get some traffic. Or we’d have to dig through crazy propaganda and extreme political opinions in the hopes of finding good advice. It drove us mad — we just wanted the facts and straightforward answers!
Starting any new project, large or small, can be daunting.  Unlike other projects, however, family preparedness and prepping can literally save your life if not your sanity. I have created a beginners roadmap for going forward as I develop each topic in detail in the Twelve Months of Prepping Series, complete with actionable steps that you can take to become a prepper of the highest order while doing so with grace, optimism, and hope.
If you live in a hot and humid environment, you have to store the food a little differently. I live in Florida, and I recommend sealing 1 lbs to 5 lbs in mylar bags and storing those in sealed 5 gallon buckets. It creates a double barrier and smaller bag sizes if you have to open them in an emergency. It might seem more expensive, but it is better than losing everything to water or humidity. It also makes great barter material in a shtf situation.

Of course, it goes both ways: you will almost certainly find it harder to get help if your neighbors still resent you for puking on their doormat and constantly partying at night; so once again, not being a jerk to other people is not just good manners, but a very legitimate survival skill. Even if it's not really your nature, say "hi", engage in small talk, and offer to help with minor hurdles every now and then. Bring your neighbors a pie or some donuts, add them on Facebook, and try to find common interests. Socialize with coworkers who live nearby, too. Even if the zombie apocalypse never comes, it still won't be a waste of your time.
Somewhat counterintuitively, saving money is not just about cutting down expenses; seeing a higher balance on a checking account tends to instinctively make us less frugal, too. To counter this trend, I found it helpful to set up a small, daily transfer to a savings account, in an amount that blends in with daily purchases - say, $10 or so. This method takes much less planning and mental discipline than trying to make one big deposit every month. And hey - when you are comfortable with $10, you can painlessly test the limits by gently ramping the amount up.
A veritable industry has sprung up around the prepper movement. James Rawles, author of the non-fiction book How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It and a pair of best-selling novels on survival, says 130,000 people regularly read his survivalblog.com, where he and numerous contributors provide tips on how to prepare. The former Army intelligence officer has 40 advertisers selling everything from seeds to silver, and 30 more advertisers on a waiting list.

In some parts of the world, extreme heat can be far more dangerous than cold. When AC is not an option, it's usually possible to avoid trouble by staying in the shade, drinking a lot, and limiting physical activity. If it gets really nasty, the best way to cool yourself is to wet your clothing and hair, then stand in front of a running fan. You have a bigger problem if you happen to be stranded in a broken down car somewhere in the middle of a desert - but carrying some water and several other supplies in your trunk should help a great deal. More about that soon.
In fact, one of the most significant health consequences of nuclear accidents is also very easy to manage: it's the release of copious amounts of radioactive iodine, a short-lived substance that gets absorbed by the thyroid gland. To deal with this issue, people in the affected areas are typically offered potassium iodide pills; this temporarily saturates thyroid and prevents any further uptake of iodine for a couple of days or weeks. Such tablets are available over-the-counter and dirt cheap ($7), so it's not a bad idea to have some at hand.
Also, include a good supply of the spices you like to cook with. These flavorings and spices allow you to do many creative things with your grains and beans. Without them you are severely limited. One of the best suggestions I can give you is buy a good food storage cookbook. Go through it and see what your family would really eat. Notice the ingredients as you do it. This will help you more than anything else to know what items to store.
The way I think of it is, it depends on the food. How long will it last once you open it? Will it last long enough once opened for your family to consume it before it goes bad. Also, only buy foods you know how to use and that you will actually like to eat. No point in buying wheat berries if you dont have the manual grinder to process it and if you don’t know how to cook with it. I have a family of 4 including 2 small children. If I store rice in a 5 gallon mylar, will we use it before it goes bad once it’s opened? Possibly not. So i put it in 1 lb mylar bags. We can pull out smaller amounts at a time.
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Firearms. A very effective and supremely intimidating weapon, with lethality ranging from 20% for handguns to 80% for shotguns; for a novice user, the effective range is somewhere between 10 and 100 yards. Guns are heavily regulated in much of the world, but widely available in the US - although there are several states or municipalities that make it very difficult to get a permit unless you are a celebrity or a prominent donor.
107. Solar power watt kitt – A solar power watt kitt allows you to power your RV, home, cabin, boat, etc… all from the power of the sun. Solar power especially in the south can be very attractive as an alternative power source. To piece together a solar power kitt you will need, solar panels, charge controller, batteries, connections & wiring, as well as a power inverter. Windynation has ‘complete kits’ available if you want it in 1 package.
Just be aware, if you have stored mixes like bisquick or cake mixes which have baking powder in them. Baking powder has a shelf life, after that shelf life, the bp isn’t stable so your product may not rise and/or may taste funny. Depending on what form of dry milk (powder as opposed to instant milk) is used, that can also make your premixes go bad.
Is this a complete list of everything you will need to be fully prepared food-wise?  Heck no.  Are the quantities adequate to feed a family for a month, three months or longer?  Perhaps a month but not much longer.  Truthfully, for long term storage you need more food and more variety (read about the top survival food brands here) as well as some packaging methods (Mylar bags or buckets plus oxygen absorbers) to insure that your will food stay viable and pest free for years to come.
Awesome article. Really useful tool for assessing where I am in the process. And planning the next step. Once again, Gaye, you give us the important information without the fear. Some walk away from the fear and don’t get started. Some, such as me, rush headlong into the fear and then have a panic attack. So the fear is not productive. I appreciate your style.
Finally, when prepping for food, meticulously keep an eye out for coupons. This may mean that you purchase dozens of beans one week and tons of rice the next. However, if you set yourself a budget of $10/mo and max this out as much as you can, you will soon see your food supplies growing. That would be $120 worth of seeds, food, and canned goods that you could have at the end of the year. We’ve said it a number of times already, but preparing even a little bit at a time is better than nothing at all.

ARE YOU PREPARED? The end of the world didn’t come for Judgement Day followers who expected the rapture in May 2011. But who are these people who continuously fear the end of the world and obsessively prepare themselves and their loved ones for the worst? Meet "preppers" including one man who built an underground bunker where he and his family can retreat during a nuclear attack.
Boxed evacuation essentials. Camping and survival supplies to get you through at least one week, in case you need to leave home and can't be sure about finding a hospitable location right away. The gear should be boxed or bagged to make it easy to load into your vehicle. Include some amount of water and food, and make sure that the entire kit actually fits into the car. For many US cars, 56 quart storage totes ($19) work very well.
During the Cold War, Armageddon became a matter for government policymakers. The Federal Civil Defense Administration, created by Harry Truman, issued crisp instructions for surviving a nuclear strike, including “Jump in any handy ditch or gutter” and “Never lose your head.” In 1958, Dwight Eisenhower broke ground on Project Greek Island, a secret shelter, in the mountains of West Virginia, large enough for every member of Congress. Hidden beneath the Greenbrier Resort, in White Sulphur Springs, for more than thirty years, it maintained separate chambers-in-waiting for the House and the Senate. (Congress now plans to shelter at undisclosed locations.) There was also a secret plan to whisk away the Gettysburg Address, from the Library of Congress, and the Declaration of Independence, from the National Archives.

No matter where you live, it's also nice to have some materials at hand to patch up broken windows on a stormy night. Window security film can be used to keep broken glass in place, while a roll of thick plastic sheeting or tarp from a hardware store can come handy for temporary repairs; space permitting, you may also want to keep several wooden planks. For suburban and rural homes in regions prone to extreme weather, pressboard and sandbags may be worthwhile, too. Traditional sandbags tend to be extremely labor-intensive to fill, so plan accordingly; water-filled barriers are much easier to deploy, but cost more. Absorbent sock-style barriers can be used to deal with minor flooding, but only up to an inch of water or so; they may be less useful for inclement weather, but may prove indispensable for dealing with backed-up sewage or similar ills.

It is hard learning to garden. I just put in my first huge garden a couple of years ago. One thing that I did learn…. is that there are many different ways to garden. There are many books at the library about different types of gardening and of course the internet has a wealth of knowledge. Everyone of course, thinks that their way is the best. Good luck with the garden.
Unfortunately for preppers, the management of serious pain in an emergency situation is tricky: virtually all the potent painkillers have narcotic properties and are very illegal to buy or possess without a prescription. Fixing the underlying tooth problem can be similarly elusive: you need expert knowledge and a collection of expensive and bulky tools: high-speed drills, suction units, and so forth. In the end, the best preparedness strategy is just prevention: take good care of your mouth and stop by for a routine checkup at least once a year.
Per #17: Consider 25 pounds of sugar, even if like me, you don’t use it; it can become like money because so many have a sweet tooth for it. Next: at least the same amount of salt. (I buy sea salt for the iodine within and it’s a mineral all animals need in their diets so it too, can be used like $$. Third: black peppercorns, in past history this was used as money everywhere along the spice routes. Why? Because they have a very very long shelf life without losing potency. Then buy a pepper grinder, coffee/spice grinder and/or a mortar and pestle.
In the mid to late 20th century, prepping was born in the wake of Cold War fears. People learned about strategies from books and in-person meetings and communicated in Ham radio chains across the country. Since the turn of the century, though, the internet and the rise of reality television that glorifies survival challenges have contributed to a nationwide surge in prepping. The base of hardcore preppers has grown considerably, but the businesses that have traditionally supported them are seeing massive growth as large proportions of average people buy supplies from outdoor and camping stores, freeze-dried food suppliers, and gun and self-defense companies. There is even a new class of retailers, like Emergency Essentials, that have been able to thrive solely due to the “prep-shopper” category.
Because of its very high value-to-volume ratio, physical gold is stored and moved around very easily, but keeping substantial amounts at home can be ill-advised; theft is a very real risk, and most insurance policies will not adequately cover the loss. Safe deposit boxes at a local bank, available for around $20 a year, are usually a better alternative - although they come with some trade-offs; for example, the access to deposit boxes was restricted by the government during the Greek debt crisis in 2015. Non-bank storage services do not have that problem, but cost quite a bit more.
Huffman has been a frequent attendee at Burning Man, the annual, clothing-optional festival in the Nevada desert, where artists mingle with moguls. He fell in love with one of its core principles, “radical self-reliance,” which he takes to mean “happy to help others, but not wanting to require others.” (Among survivalists, or “preppers,” as some call themselves, FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, stands for “Foolishly Expecting Meaningful Aid.”) Huffman has calculated that, in the event of a disaster, he would seek out some form of community: “Being around other people is a good thing. I also have this somewhat egotistical view that I’m a pretty good leader. I will probably be in charge, or at least not a slave, when push comes to shove.”
But to summarize, let's start with the eponymous threat of nuclear war. A typical ICBM strike is likely to kill most people within a 1 to 10 mile radius of the explosion, with most perishing due to the blast wave and intense heat, not gamma rays. In fact, as witnessed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, when one sees a flash of light, ducking behind cover is quite likely to save their life. But more importantly, even an "all out" nuclear exchange with another superpower would leave most of the United States unscathed. It would also not turn the planet into a post-apocalyptic wasteland - at least not any more than the hundreds of nuclear tests already conducted in the twentieth century.
A subset of this is also worth keeping in a car. It's not just about zombies or life-and-death situations: if you hit something in a parking lot and your bumper cover comes off or your liftgate won't stay shut, it's nice to be able to tie it down and get back on the road. Similarly, a shovel can help you get back on the road after getting stuck in snow or mud. But speaking of survival: a pocket knife, kept within reach (e.g., in the center console), can be used to cut seat belts if you get into a wreck; and in a pinch, it will double as a self-defense tool. Belt cutters can also fulfill that first task, and may be easier to operate if you are hurt - although they are less useful for other purposes. I'd also recommend getting an automatic center punch - it's a neat $7 tool that effortlessly shatters tempered glass (i.e., side and rear windows) when the doors won't budge. It works way better than many of the specialized car escape devices sold on the Internet.
74. Essential oils – Having a good stock of essential oils will be very useful if the system goes down and its hard to find quality medicine. Essential oils are inexpensive and needs no prescription to buy them and can be used for antiseptics, relieve headaches, promote sleep, reduce anxiety, treat wounds, etc … Here is an article on the 25 uses of lavender which is considered the jack of all oils! You will want to have in stock a starter kit of essential oils!
Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with the items on the checklist below. Most of the items are inexpensive and easy to find, and any one of them could save your life. Headed to the store? Download a printable version to take with you. Once you take a look at the basic items, consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets, or seniors.
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